The Dublin manager was responding to a question about forward Diarmuid Connolly, whose disciplinary record has let him down in the past and again this summer when a red card against Wexford saw him suspended for the Leinster final against Meath.
“The fact is that [Connolly] gets talked about a lot and people can get targeted. Then the opposition are going to do something to them just because they’re fellas who might have a name for something like that.
“They should be protected by the referees as well, I’m not just saying it for him. There are other players. Paul Galvin seems to be in a similar situation. A lot seems to happen to him that goes unpunished. So there is a flip side to it.
“Dermot is a smart enough guy and I think we’ll be safe enough to use him in the future. He’s a human being and we all make mistakes. There’s a number of our guys that have had issues in that area and they’ve dealt with them very well.”
Connolly was sent off for striking Wexford’s Brian Malone but Gilroy described it as an “innocuous enough” incident and questioned why the official’s umpires hadn’t made more of the fact the Dublin player appeared to be thrown to the floor before that.
“Maybe the umpires didn’t see him being thrown to the ground just before but, to be fair to the officials this summer, there’s been a lot of interventions from linesmen and umpires which have been positive.
“There’s been a lot more talking between them. You can even hear it during games. You mightn’t even see the fella running in, but they’re wired up and they’re saying things to the referee all the time about different bits to watch out for.
“Generally speaking there’s been a lot less controversy in terms of the refereeing this summer.”